Saving Civilization

Something happened in the churches of America in the 1930s and 1940s, and that something has changed the church dramatically. It has changed society and our social perceptions. That something is what Thomas Bergler calls the “juvenilization” of the church. In his new book, The Juvenilization of American Christianity, Bergler maps how in the wake [Read More…]

That Model Student

What do we do with the “model student” in youth ministries? It’s very common for youth pastors to use phrases like “Sarah is an unbelievable student. If only I could have a dozen just like her.” Students like Sarah show up for every event, have a great attitude, and  I have definitely said these kinds [Read More…]

Youth Trips: Helping that Hurts?

We are doing a series on Root and Dean’s new book, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, and each post is written by our friend, Syler Thomas, a youth pastor of fourteen years. This post concerns the upside and downside of youth ministry trips for service. In chapter 13 of The Theological Turn in Youth [Read More…]

Youth and a Theology of Suffering

This post is by Syler Thomas, a friend of mine who pastors youth in Chicagoland’s suburbs. Clearly present in Andrew Root’s theology (co-author of The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry with Kenda Creasy Dean) is a focus on the presence of suffering and pain in the world, and God’s connection to it. This is helpful [Read More…]

Good Theology, Good Ministry?

This post is by Syler Thomas, who blogs here (sometimes) but who also teamed with Chris Folmsbee and me to write Jesus Creed for Students. Syler pastors at Christ Church in Lake Forest, and in this series examines one of the most important youth ministry books to come along in a while. In The Theological [Read More…]

Bonhoeffer Wasn’t the Answer

This post (and series) is by my friend at Christ Church of Lake Forest, Syler Thomas. I was talking with a friend recently about my new book Game Plan: Practical Wisdom for the College Experience (co-written by Nic Gibson, foreword by Scot McKnight) and he shared a story about the book he received to prepare him [Read More…]

What to do?

This situation, I’m sure intended to teach something about faith and persecution, unleashed both some trauma and lots of criticisms. A decade or two back our high school football coach staged a shooting (of himself by another) in order to “teach” the football team something. The issue today is not to jump on this youth [Read More…]

Saturday Book Review: Dunn, Sundene

This review is by my colleague, Joel Willitts, who posted this earlier at his blog, Euangelion. Joel teaches Bible at North Park and works with young adult ministries at his church in Geneva IL. Richard Dunn and Jana Sundene have written an important book about ministry among emerging adults: Shaping the Journey of Emerging Adults: [Read More…]

Sticky Faith 4 (Syler Thomas)

Syler Thomas, who is doing this series on Kara Powell and Chap Clark’s Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids is a youth pastor. Have you had that experience where you’re reading something, and you get the sense that the way you’re doing something will never be the same after you’ve [Read More…]

Sticky Faith 3 (Syler Thomas)

This series is by a youth pastor friend, Syler Thomas, and it on Chap Clark and Kara Powell’s new book, Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids. They provide these sobering statistics: 1 out of 8 churched kids has regular conversation about faith with their moms. Just 1 out of 20 [Read More…]